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Stories: Children, Community, Future

STORY OF A CHILD PROTECTION OFFICER

Nong Quoc Chan has been selected as a Child Protection Officer since the project “Strengthening child protection system effectiveness” started in Trung Hoa commune, Ngan Son district in January 2020. Not only enthusiastically participating in training courses to build capacity, equip legal knowledge on child protection, and learn procedures to support abused children, Chan is also effectively applying this knowledge in the community.

Every day, from information reported by the village’s child protection collaborators and child protection focal points in schools about children with special circumstances or are at risk of falling into special circumstances, Chan and members of the Child Protection Group carry out verification, visit children and their families, coordinate with schools to support children at risk of dropping out of school, early marriage, and subjected to violence and abuse to develop a case management plan.

Nong Quoc Chan (standing) is conducting a briefing with the Child Protection Group in Trung Hoa Commune on 15 September 2020

He still clearly remembers one day in early December 2021, when he received a phone call from a friend who is a Child Protection Officer in another district, asking for his support on a case of a girl child who was pregnant and planning to get married (child marriage). With his knowledge and experience, Chan guided his friend to verify information related to the case, especially the age of the child and the abuser. Once it was determined to be a case of child sexual abuse – a very serious incident that often goes unreported due to limited knowledge of the local people and local customs, Chan pointed his friend to provisions of the law related to child abuse, steps in case management, and principles to apply in interventions. He also instructed his friend to call the National Child Helpline 111 for further advice on psychological support for the child and her family. After the efforts of Chan and his colleague, this case was supported and timely intervened in accordance with regulations.

Chan (fourth from the left) and a child’s homeroom teacher visiting a family to encourage them to let their child to return to school – October 2021.

According to Vi Van Tien – Culture and Social Officer in charge of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of Trung Hoa Commune, the commune’s child protection work has had many positive changes since Chan participated in ChildFund’s advanced training courses. Aside from actively contributing to the local Child Protection Group, Chan also regularly shares knowledge from the training with colleagues within and outside the commune.

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